Virtual networking events are all about connecting with and forming professional relationships with others.
A virtual network event focuses on helping people join conferences for professional development or to take advantage of business opportunities.
Networking has numerous benefits. Forming connections, meeting like-minded individuals, finding solutions to problems, gathering leads, and the list goes on and on. Without virtual networking, individuals might not even have the opportunity to connect together.
By far, virtual networking is the best way for business professionals to meet each other, develop business relationships, or discuss significant developments.
However, running a virtual networking event or even finding an appealing virtual networking idea can be challenging.
Inadequate moderation, missed social cues, and technology issues can ruin an otherwise incredible experience. For this reason, it's crucial to make great use of the latest technology, pay close attention to group size, and comply with a few etiquette rules before setting up a virtual networking event.
Before diving deeper into virtual networking events, we're going to outline the benefits that come with hosting or participating in one. We begin by defining a virtual networking event and when you can expect to attend one.
How Does a Virtual Networking Event Work?
A virtual networking event connects people and businesses, enabling them to explore growth opportunities.
In contrast to other virtual events, virtual assistant networking events emphasize connecting and engaging with equally beneficial interactions for both networks.
Most virtual networking events include:
Thanks to virtual networking events, networking has changed how people do business, at least when it comes to the virtual world.
Virtual networking events involve two types of networking:
Individual networking: Get in touch with attendees, speakers, and exhibitors one-on-one, keeping your personal information private.
Participants can participate in group discussions: A keynote presentation or an ice-breaking session that provides a platform for open discussion between partnering organizations.
Businesses must network and connect with the right prospects during such events to generate leads. On top of this, virtual network events have fewer expenses and require less time to prepare than physical events, so the return on investment (ROI) can be substantially higher. That's just one reason many business owners are turning to online networking.
Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Network Event
Why should you consider hosting a virtual networking event if you're a business owner?
There are abundant reasons. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can benefit from participating in a virtual networking event, even as a professional:
For starters, virtual networking events offer convenience to both the host and attendee.
Just think about it.
It's way less stressful to organize and pull off a virtual networking event than to arrange a physical.
Virtual networking can break the ice by creating a sense of intimacy that can sometimes be lacking at more bustling in-person events.
With technology at your fingertips, it's easier than ever to host virtual assistant networking events. PandaMR makes it possible to host any kind of online event, thanks to its all-inclusiveness.
Whether you want to dazzle your audience with a VR experience or deliver a learning experience, hosting an online event is far more cost-effective. You don't have to worry about paying for a venue, staff (minus moderators), OR any of the extra conveniences and technology innovations.
For participants, it's also cheaper to attend online networking events. Again, saving money is a win-win on both sides!
Widen Your Reach
Take a moment and consider:
When attending a physical networking event, how often do you sit at the refreshment table or aimlessly wander the hall instead of meeting other attendees who could turn into valuable contacts?
Think of it this way:
Even introverts need to connect with other people to expand their businesses.
As a host or attendee, you can benefit from widening your reach for virtual networking. By breaking down barriers and attending from your own space, you feel more relaxed and can socialize and connect easier.
Virtual Networking Events Types
There are many different types of virtual networking events. Depending on your needs, one type will be more suitable than the other.
With that said, it seems an excellent idea to know what each virtual networking event type entails. In this way, you can choose which ones to employ for your own goals.
Here are some virtual networking event ideas that could be compatible with your business:
Meet & Greets
Meet & greets can be carried out on a 1-1 basis or in a group dynamic. They're often used to introduce new staff members to a company or create connections with prominent figures in the industry.
Workshops allow professionals to pass on their knowledge and skills. They're great networking events that can also turn out fun. Through VR (supported by PandaMR), you can connect with your audience on a virtual level that feels physical.
These days, many companies form some sort of clubs. Be it breakfast clubs, after-work clubs, or even general discussion clubs. When working from home, these club meetings can be fantastic for maintaining professional connections and bringing a greater sense of workplace satisfaction.
Business and Growth
One of the main reasons people choose to host or attend networking events is for business growth opportunities. That could be to discuss new ideas, plans or even report about things and how they have impacted the business' direction.
Reporting on trends is essential in certain sectors such as marketing and internet communications. For example, new trends are constantly emerging in marketing, so you have to be on top of trends. Hosting a networking event to discuss the latest trends is a great way to keep on track.
Roundtables on Topics
A roundtable discussion usually involves several speakers who put forward their views and opinions on hot topics. These networking events are largely based on the opportunity to share information and learn.
Almost anyone can benefit from asking questions!
With Q&A sessions, you use the space to network and get new information that you didn't know.
For instance, if you're a business owner releasing a new product, you could use a Q&A to gather customers’ thoughts before launching the product.
How to Host a Virtual Networking Event
The best virtual networking events don't happen by chance. On the contrary, they're well-planned and designed with the attendees in mind.
As expected, therefore, getting ready for and following up on your virtual networking event is essential. Likewise, structuring and organizing it is key in making it successful and pleasant for participants.
So, are you planning a virtual networking event?
If so, we have you covered.
Read our step-by-step guide below to get your virtual networking event right.
So, before the event:
Set your goals
Define how you will position your brand
Ensure there's a way to analyze the outcome
Start with marketing: Send out email invitations to potential attendees to inform them about your event and make them understand the benefits of attending it.
Include the names of your guest speakers and any fun interactive activities you might conduct to catch the attention of your attendees.
Build your guest list: It wouldn't be a networking event without people, so make sure you have the right guests.
When hosting a networking event, you don't need to worry about people as much as hosting a physical event with a predefined guest list. That said, an open invitation to a networking event may be necessary to invite new faces beyond your network.
Choose the right networking platform: Sure, you can hold virtual networking events using a Zoom call. However, when things get complicated, you’re far better with a specialized platform, such as PandaMR.
If you want to add extra features to your virtual event, designated virtual event tools can be super useful. Most companies offer breakout rooms for smaller group conversations or private meetings for speed networking, as well.
Getting your guests prepared: Even though virtual events are extremely popular, not everyone has attended a virtual networking session before, and no two are alike. Give your guests a warm welcome and the best chance of enjoying your event by preparing them in advance.
Prevent confusion by providing your virtual networking attendees with a detailed guide before the event, too. Share hosting information and go over technical requirements.
Introduce your participants: Ahead of your event, send a message to the people you've invited to get them acquainted. The message could include:
Each person's name and a one-sentence description;
Profile on LinkedIn and other social media accounts;
An interesting or fun fact about them (that you have permission to share).
Icebreakers: To get everyone comfortable with this type of networking and prevent one person from dominating the meeting or turning it into a gripe session about current events, ask each participant a specific question after introductions. Encourage the back and forth banter but be ready to steer the conversation back to the main topic if it gets off track or no one has had a chance to share.
Be an active moderator and host: There's an underlying feeling of casualness at networking events. It can be tempting just to sit back and wait for someone to contact you. The best virtual networking event hosts know this isn't the case; You should be an active host, moderator, and participant, too.
Follow-up communication: After the event is over:
Send an email to thank everyone for attending
Provide links to resources mentioned during the event
Promote future events, if you have any in mind
What Platform Should I Use to Host My Virtual Networking Event?
There's a boom in the virtual event market! Platforms are being introduced at an increasing rate and virtual networking event ideas keep emerging.
As a result, you may be asking: Where should I hold my virtual event?
When choosing a platform for hosting virtual events, many factors need to be taken into account.
Before anything, remember there's a clear difference between small and large virtual events. In fact, your hosting decision will be pretty simple for small virtual events. Most likely, your company already has a license for some sort of platform.
With larger virtual events, however, things get more complicated. There are many packages and services available. In addition, the costs of virtual event platforms for large events have increased significantly, mainly because of the ongoing pandemic.
Here are some of the key factors to consider when looking for virtual event platforms:
Roles and permissions (i.e., group networking)
Keep in mind that the above isn't an exclusive list. Just pick apart the features you need to run the best virtual business networking events you can!
Choosing PandaMR as Your Networking Platform
PandaMR (Panoramic District Alternative - Mixed Reality) is a 3D platform for organizing, hosting, and participating in virtual or hybrid events. To put it differently: We're an all-inclusive online conference and event platform.
With PandaMR, you can:
Customize and optimize your event website according to your brand's requirements;
Use the event builder to monitor sales through the ticketing system;
Choose one of the suggested designs or provide your 3D design module for a booth;
Provide virtual advertising placements and generate more sponsors for your event;
Get the advanced back office with real-time behavior statistics;
Partner with our customer experience team to guarantee the event's 24-hour support;
Create your ad placements in the virtual environment and get sponsors for your event;
Use the expo builder's ticketing system to sell tickets and monitor sales;
Use an exhibition website to promote your exhibition, place ads, and reach a larger audience.
PandaMR encourages you to host engaging networking events and connect. On top of this, our blog offers helpful articles to get a foothold into the virtual world. And, our dedicated team of experts is always available to provide any help you may need.
Learn more about our networking solutions here.